LMPD officer accused of assaulting driver after crash testifies - WDRB 41 Louisville News

LMPD officer accused of assaulting driver after crash testifies in his own defense

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- An LMPD police officer on trial for allegedly assaulting a man after a traffic accident last year took the stand Thursday, saying his actions were justified. 

Officer Zechariah Aubrey was charged with terroristic threatening, harassment and official misconduct after Aubrey and Justin Cook were involved in a car crash in June of 2016.

His testimony comes a day after a profanity-laced cell phone video from the incident was shown to the jury.

On Thursday, Aubrey told jurors his version of the events that led up to the video. Aubrey testified that he was off duty in his personal car with his girlfriend, and the two were car shopping. Aubrey told the jury they were sitting at a stoplight on Taylorsville Road when he saw a silver Jeep crossing the center line.

He claims Cook was behind the wheel, but slumped over in the front seat.

After the crash, Aubrey says he could tell his girlfriend was okay, so he checked on Cook. Aubrey says Cook had purple lips and looked like he was gasping for air -- signs of a drug overdose.

Aubrey told jurors he and Cook got into a heated exchange when Cook came to, and the cell phone video captured the incident from there. Aubrey says there is a reason he talked to Cook in the way he did.

"With him being so non-compliant before that video started and everything showed me right away that he's not going to respond to me being nice to him," Aubrey said. "I used such aggressive language and curse words -- I would rather have to talk to somebody like that, and yell at somebody like that than have to use physical force on somebody." 

Under questioning, Aubrey did admit to using a leg sweep to take Cook to the ground because he says he wasn't following his commands.

Cook was found to be under the influence of heroin, and cited for DUI. 

Aubrey remains on desk duty until this case has been resolved. 

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